Definition of brute in English:


Line breaks: brute
Pronunciation: /bruːt


1A savagely violent man or animal: he was a cold-blooded brute
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  • Running contrary to the accepted belief that Neanderthals were nothing but savage brutes, the child - either a foetus aged seven months or a child no more than a few weeks old - had been buried in a grave.
  • If the people are not violent brutes then they are passive victims.
  • She was the only young girl in a tavern full of large ugly brutes.
savage, beast, monster, animal, sadist, barbarian, devil, demon, fiend, ogre; thug, lout, boor, oaf, ruffian, yahoo, rowdy, bully boy
informal swine, bastard, pig
Scottish informal radge
1.1 informal A cruel or insensitive person: what an unfeeling little brute you are
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  • He's a brute, an offense to human decency.
  • Eventually, though, her Catholic aspirations to Protestant gentility and heavy-handed elocution lessons failed to soothe her brute of a husband.
  • The public would view the woman's affair as a sad, desperate attempt to gain some comfort in the hellish life her brute of a husband had imposed on her.
1.2Something awkward, difficult, or unpleasant: a great brute of a machine
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  • The written section was tough - hardly anything on quantum theory, and a brute of a paper on the cell chemistry of Micronesian diatomic plankton.
  • It's a brute of a soundwave kicking me in the back of my neck.
  • So, not life or death here - just a brute of a golf course.
2An animal as opposed to a human being: we, unlike dumb brutes, can reflect upon our impulses
More example sentences
  • The landing was home to a pair of scabrous aging brutes, a wolf dog (I suspect) and a forlorn Great Dane.
  • What I remember is that the film starred Will Fyffe, whose big black dog was rather an unreliable brute that was suspected of sheep worrying.
  • Some observers hypothesize that she had been indoctrinated to believe the malicious stereotype of the Ursidae as awkward, clumsy, ill-mannered brutes.
animal, beast, wild animal, wild beast, creature
informal critter


[attributive] Back to top  
1Unreasoning and animal-like: a brute struggle for social superiority
More example sentences
  • In today's society our environment and culture has shaped what was once a brute drive to reproduce, into skills and expertise which secure prominence and survival in the modern world.
  • The brute outvoting of one social group by another is not so much Mill's focus as the process by which majority opinion is formed and accepted as legitimate.
  • What kind of animals, what kind of brute beasts have we created in this land?
1.1Merely physical: we achieve little by brute force
More example sentences
  • Tenderness is more of a show of strength than brute force, because it is harder to be compassionate than it is to be mighty.
  • Such relations, contributing to a sense of continuity bridge the gap between the listener and the brute physicality of the musical language.
  • The possession of vast territory, raw physical resources, and brute power guarantees neither prosperity nor peace.
physical, crude, fleshly, bodily, violent
1.2Fundamental, inescapable, and unpleasant: the brute necessities of basic subsistence
More example sentences
  • A moral and ethical position must be based on something more than the mere brute facts of the event.
  • Perhaps morality is just a brute fact of the universe.
  • The permanent features of our situation seem mere brute facts - to be endured or, if possible, gotten around.


late Middle English (as an adjective): from Old French brut(e), from Latin brutus 'dull, stupid'.

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Pronunciation: əˈnɒm(ə)ləs
deviating from what is standard, normal, or expected